I am from Flushing Queens, where we would usually buy Pensie Pinkies and Spaldeens from Joe’s, which was the nearest candy store. Sometimes when I had no money, I ‘d swipe a Pensie from my sister, who, along with her friends, used them mostly in an activity that involved keeping the ball in bounce while reciting different rhymes that were punctuated by passing their legs over the ball before it would bounce back up. I lived on a hill where many of these balls ended up in the sewer at the end of the block. You could retrieve them using a garden rake, but if they remained in the water too long, they almost certainly went dead. We used to play stick ball, box ball, Chinese handball, catch a fly and you’re up, and many, many more games using them. As I recall, the favored brand for stickball at least, was Spalding, but I never observed too much difference between the two.
Original author: Murray Hill [e-mail]